American photographer Joe Perri booked a one-way flight to Mexico City, with plans of “fully dissolving” into the sprawling metropolis that is home to over 21 million people. In his own words that follow, he tells us about his time traversing this multifaceted landscape.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with chaos and complexity in its most beautiful form. The air was thin, dense with exhaust fumes brewed with the scent of grilled meat. Streets were flooded with traffic and the sounds of daily bustle echoed through indoor spaces. It was unexpectedly lush, there was comfort in the way the vegetation danced with the architecture. The framework felt very much in sync with the natural world.
I spent the following weeks roaming its disparate neighborhoods. The oasis here reminds you that the city has one foot deeply rooted in the past and one foot In the future. Modern architecture sat nestled beside 100-year-old buildings. People old and young sit side by side here, and no one blinks an eye. It was a very endearing attribute that I learned about the city; the ability to embrace cultural opposites, allowing them to coexist without significant conflict.
Aside from the rigorous bustle and fleeting scenes, life/time seemed at a slower pace here. Unlike the hustle in New York or Los Angeles, people took a moment to lie in the park stroll at their own leisure. Business owners delicately swept their storefronts, and Mariachis played songs while you ate. I soon realized that this complex, always changing megalopolis is a study in contrasts and charm, and there I found harmony amongst it all.